Monday, July 28, 2014

Introducing the Lucky Wristlet

There is at least one of you who has been waiting over 7 years for this pattern to be published!  There are many more of you that have emailed over the years asking for this pattern.  And now, here it is, the Lucky Wristlet, available as a free download.

I can't wait to see all the creative personal twists that you put on the pattern.  There are so many ways to customize this using colors, materials, ribbons, etc.  Plus it's a very quick project.  You could have it done in a weekend.  So far, no one's posted a project  on Ravlery.  Will you be the first? ;)  

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Tutorial: Make a Ribbon Strap for the Lucky Wristlet

This is the photo tutorial for making a ribbon strap for the Lucky Wristlet.

The tutorial is broken down, step-by-step.  Let me know if something isn't clear.  I will be happy to help you out.

Detailed instructions (text is above its corresponding photo)

1.  You'll need a crocheted Lucky Wristlet using my free PDF crochet pattern and one yard of ribbon.

2.  Find the side of your wristlet that doesn't have a spike crochet "belt loop" for your ribbon.  This side has a spike.

3.  This side does not have a spike.  This is the strap side.

4.  Fold your ribbon end so you can easily thread it through the first spike stitch.

5.  Keep threading your ribbon under the spike stitches ...

6.  ... until you've gone all the way around.  Adjust the ribbon so both loose ends are the same length.

7.  Take one ribbon end and wrap it around the other ribbon end.

8.  Make a simple knot.

9.  Pull the knot tightly against the wristlet.

10.  Here is what the strap looks like with the first knot completed.

11.  The other strap is now  longer than the knotted strap.

12.  Take the longer strap and wrap it around the shorter strap.

13.  Make a simple knot near the end.

14.  Pull the knot tightly.

15.  We are going to finish the ribbon ends now.

16.  Trim both ends on a diagonal.  I trim them separately, not at the same time.

17.  Here they are trimmed.

18.  I use Fray Check™ to secure the threads at the end of the ribbon so they don't fray and look a mess.

19.  The strap is done.

20.  Now you can use your wristlet.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Tutorial: Make a Zippered Lining for the Lucky Wristlet

This is the photo tutorial for making a zippered lining for the Lucky Wristlet.

The tutorial shows, step-by-step how to make a zippered lining for the Lucky Wristlet.  Let me know if something isn't clear.  I will be happy to help you!

Detailed instructions (text is above its corresponding photo)

1.  You'll need a crocheted Lucky Wristlet using my free PDF crochet pattern, fabric for the lining, and a zipper that is about 3 inches longer (or more) than your wristlet.


2.  To figure out the size of the fabric pieces you need to cut, you need to measure your wristlet.  Measure the width of the inside opening.  In this photo, my interior wristlet width is 7.5"

3. Measure the inside height from the middle of the bottom of the wristlet to to row where you will sew in the lining.  In this photo, my interior wristlet height is 4".

4. NOTE:  If you modified your wristlet to have depth by adding bottom rows, you will still measure your wristlet as described.  The change you will make to accommodate the depth is to square off the bottom corners to remove the extra fabric at each side.  I'll remind you below.

5. Cut fabric:
- - 2 pieces that are [width + 1"] by [height + 1"].  My pieces are 8.5" by 5".
- - 1 piece that is 5.25" by 4.5" to make a credit-card-sized pocket


6. Place the pocket fabric face down on your ironing board.  The 5.25" edges are the top and bottom.  The 4.5" edges are the right and left sides. Fold up 1/2" from the bottom edge, right sides together.  Iron along the fold.

7. Fold the top edge down so that the folded bottom edge is about 1/4" longer than the top edge.  Pin the sides.

8. Sew a 1/2" seam on the right and left sides starting from the fold and going toward the open edge.

9. Trim off the corners of the seam allowance.  This will reduce bulk when you turn this inside-out.

10. Turn the pocket inside-out.  Use a crochet hook or knitting needle to push out the corners.  Iron flat.  This is the front side.

11. This is the back side.  The opening is the bottom edge of the pocket.

12. Sew across the top of the pocket 1/4" below the top edge.

13. Hide the thread ends on the inside of the pocket. See steps 19-22 for details about hiding threads..  Set aside the pocket for later.


14. Place one of the lining pieces face down on your ironing board.  The long edges are the top and bottom.  The short edges are the right and left sides. Fold down 1/2" from the top edge, wrong sides together.  Iron along the fold.

15. For edges this long which need ironing, I like to make the fold, pin the fold with long pins, then iron.  I let the fold cool before unpinning.

16. Repeat steps 13 and 14 with the other lining  piece.

17. Pin the pocket to one of the lining pieces.  Be sure that the lining piece fold is at the top and the stitching line of the pocket is at the top.  The bottom of the pocket should be about 1" above the bottom edge of the lining piece.

18. Sew a 1/4" seam along the right, left, and bottom edges.  Hide the threads on the back of the lining piece.  See steps 19-22 for details about hiding threads.

19. These are two thread ends.

20. Thread one onto a sewing needle.  Pull the thread to the back of the lining piece.  Do this for the other corner thread, too.

21. Tie the threads together on the back side to secure them.

22. Here is the neat front view once the threads are pulled to the back.

23. Lay the the lining pieces on top of each other right-sides-together.  Pin the sides together.

24. Be sure the two ironing lines at the tops of the pieces line up before you pin the sides.

25. Sew a 1/2" seam on the right and left sides starting from the fold and going toward the open edge.

26. Iron the seam allowance open.

27. Trim the corners off the seam allowance at the top.  This will reduce bulk when we fold down the top edge.

28. Fold down the top edge along the ironing lines with the side seams still open (to reduce bulk).  Iron the top edge again.

29. Here's a peek inside the lining at this stage.

30. Sew around the top of the lining 1/4" from the top.  Start in a side seam, sew all the way around, ...

31. ... and end at the same point in the side seam.

32. Hide your threads.  See steps 19-22 for details about hiding threads.

33. Look how neat that is!

34. Here's another peek at the inside of the lining

35. Turn the lining inside out.

36. Measure 1/2" from the side seam ...

37. ... and place one side of the open zipper so the teeth start right at the 1/2" mark.  The zipper teeth should be right along your stitching line (1/4" from the top).

38. Pin in one side of the open zipper.

39. Sew zipper in.  Start 1/2" from one edge to 1/2" before the next edge.  I use my regular zipper foot so that my stitching isn't too close to the zipper teeth.

40. Measure 1/2" from the side seam on the other side of the lining.  Pin in open zipper.

41.  Be sure you haven't twisted up your open zipper before you sew in the second side.  When you unzip the zipper that the should teeth point upwards.  When you zip the zipper, they should come down and meet in the middle of the bag opening.

42. Sew zipper in.  Start 1/2" from one edge to 1/2" before the next edge.

43. The zipper is now sewn in.

44. Turn the lining inside out.

45. Zip up the zipper.

46. Trim the end of your zipper so it's 2.5" longer than your bag.

47. Like this.

48. Now, very carefully, unzip the zipper so the zipper head is in that last 2.5 inches, but don't unzip completely because your zipper head will come right off the zipper and that would be bad.

49. Tuck the 2.5" end of the zipper into the inside of the lining.

50. Zip the zipper back up.

51. The zipper is done!  If you have a very loose zipper and you're afraid the zipper head will slip down when you have the wristlet open, you can sew a zipper stop across the teeth at the edge of the bag.  See the section on "Adjusting Zipper Length" in this post at TECHknitting.

52. Flatten your lining and pin the bottom closed.  Sew a 1/2" seam across the bottom of the lining. The stitching you can see in this image is back side of the pocket.

53. Trim the right and left corners of the seam allowance at the bottom right and bottom left corners.

54. NOTE:  If you modified your wristlet to have depth by adding bottom rows, this is the point where you'll want to square off the bottom edge of your lining.  You can see what that entails in my Starling Handbag LiningTutorial steps 7, 8 and 9.  Once you fold over the edge in step 8, measure across the triangle perpendicular to the seam.  When you find the spot where the measurement matches the depth of your bag, that's where you'd stitch as shown in step 9.  Then trim off the excess fabric.

55. Put your finished lining into the crocheted wristlet.

56. With the zipper open, the zipper head should be on the side with no spike crochet stitch.

57. See?  There is no spike crochet stitch on the edge here.


I have a very detailed tutorial for sewing in a lining for a Starling Handbag. Instead of making you go back and forth between these two tutorials, I'm going to borrow images from that tutorial to illustrate a couple things below. Don't be confused by the different crochet colors and lining.

58. Find the crochet row where you will be sewing the lining into the wristlet.  Pin in the lining.  For the wristlet, it should be the very top row.  Be sure the right and left edges of your wristlet are aligned with the left and right edges of your lining.

59. I marked the rows with red Vs to show you the stitches you'll be sewing the lining to.  You will only have rows that look like this if you crocheted back and forth (which you should have done).  You'll be using the one I'm pointing at, which is the top row of single crochet.

60. Cut a length of thread that is 3 times the width of your wristlet.

61. Thread your needle and knot the thread.  This knotting tutorial is awesome.

60. Come out of the top edge of your lining right at a spot that lines up with the right side of one of those Vs. This will hide the knot between the lining and your wristlet.

61. Here it is from the front.  See that the thread is right between two of the Vs.

62. Make a stitch behind the two vertical bars of the crochet stitch V.

63. You are just catching the two vertical bars.  Do not go through the crochet to the outside of the bag.  This part is not an exact science.  You don't have to get *all* of the yarn in the vertical bars ... just most of it.

64. Pull the needle and thread through.

65. Pull tight.

66. Put the needle into your lining so it's inside the top fold and comes out right at the edge of the next set of vertical bars. The needle is sandwiched inside the fold of the fabric.  I do not go through both pieces of folded fabric.  If you looked behind the needle, between the lining and the bag, you wouldn't see the back side of the needle because it's inside the folded fabric.  I've said the same thing four times here because I'm trying to be clear, because it is a tricky thing to explain in words.

67. Pull the thread through.

68. Make a stitch behind the next set of vertical bars.

69. Pull the thread through.

70.Pull your stitches tightly as you go.  When the stitches are pulled tightly, your lining will looked tucked into the crochet.

71. When you get back to where you started, go back through the first couple of stitches you made.  To make my final knot, I put my needle through some yarn between two Vs ...

72. ... wrap the end of the thread around the needle three times ...

73. ... and pull the thread through the wraps to create a knot.

74. I hide the knot by pulling my needle and thread behind the lining.

75. Take ahold of the thread end ...

76. ... and pull it to hide the knot behind the lining.  Trim the thread end.

77.  Here is the wristlet lining after being sewn in.

78.  And you're done!  Time to add the ribbon strap.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tutorial: Crochet a Lucky Wristlet

This is the photo tutorial for crocheting my Lucky Wristlet pattern.

The tutorial is broken down by each teeny-tiny step.  Let me know if something isn't crystal clear to you.  I will be happy to help you out.

First things first: download the PDF pattern for the Lucky Wristlet.

Detailed instructions (text is above its corresponding photo)

1.  Gather your supplies:  yarn, ribbon, and your crochet hook.  I highly recommend doing a gauge swatch, but it's not required.  For this project, size isn't a concern, but you might want to make sure the fabric your yarn-hook combo makes will work for the wristlet you're imaging (not too thin, thick, etc).

Don't be confused by the yellow ribbon.  I originally thought I'd use the yellow, but I ultimately decided to use the blue you see in the top photo.  Luckily, grosgrain ribbon comes in standardized widths in a wide range of colors so it was easy to find the blue I wanted in a 1" width to swap with the yellow.

2.  Start the foundation row of foundation single crochet (FSC) stitches.  Never done FSC stitches before?  Learn how from my FSC Tutorial.

After a I make a couple of FSC, I always put a stitch marker in the top and bottom of the first FSC.  In the photo, I have put a pink stitch marker in the top of the FSC and a green stitch marker in the bottom or the FSC.

3.  Once I'm done with the FSC foundation row, I put a stitch marker in the top and bottom of the last FSC.  In the photo, I have put a blue stitch marker in the top of the FSC and a yellow stitch marker in the bottom or the FSC.

4.  Chain 1.

5.  Turn  your work clockwise (without moving or letting go of your crochet hook).  Look at the photo above.  Look at the photo below.  Just flip your work from right to left.

6.  Now we are starting Row 1.  Make 3 single crochet stitches in the top of the FSC closest to your crochet hook.  If you are using the stitch markers like I am, then it will have a stitch marker in it.  The stitch marker for this stitch in the photo is a blue paper clip.

7.  Make single crochet stitches across the foundation row in the tops of the FSC stitches.  Move the stitch marker up to the middle (aka 2nd) single crochet of the corner stitch.  This is useful if you need to recount stitches because something is off later.

8.  When you get to the last FSC stitch, you will make another corner (3 single crochets) in the top of it.  That will be in the stitch with the pink stitch marker.

9.  Make one ...

10.  ... two ...

11.  ... three single crochet stitches in the top of the first FSC of the foundation row to make a corner.

12. Chain one.  Move the stitch marker to the middle (2nd) of the three corner single crochets.

13.  See the single strand of yarn over my hook?  That's yarn that goes across the center of the FSC row.  When you make the single crochets across, make them around the single yarn and the bottom of the FSC stitches.

14.  Make a one ...  

15.  ... two ...

16.  ... three single crochets in the bottom of the first FSC of the foundation row to make a corner.

17.  Move the stitch marker to the middle (2nd) of the three corner single crochets.  You can see that single strand of yarn between the top and bottom of the FSC stitches.  Just be sure to stitch around it as you go across so it's caught in your single crochet.

18.  Single crochet across.

19.  When you get to the bottom of the last FSC, you're going to make another corner where the yellow stitch marker is.

20.  Make one ...

21.  ... two ...

22.  ... three single crochets in the bottom of the last FSC to make a corner.

23. Move the stitch marker to the middle (2nd) of the three corner single crochets.

24.  Now we are going to connect the end and beginning of this row with a slip stitch.  This is a seamless single crochet technique that I came up with.  If you aren't familiar with it or if you'd like to learn how to do joggles color changes take a look at my seamless single crochet tutorial.

Put your hook in the top of the first stitch of the row and yarn over.

25.  To complete the slip stitch, pull the yarn-over through the top of the first single crochet and through the loop that was on your hook.

26.  Now we're starting Row 2.  Chain one.

27.  To turn your work clockwise, keep your hook in your right hand, use your left hand to spin your work so the right edge moves toward you then to the left.

If this isn't making sense to you, take a look at where the yellow and blue stitch markers are in photos 26, 27, and 28 ... they are moving as the work is turning clockwise.  Just imitate the images.

28.  Turned successfully!

29.  Now, we are going to skip the slipstitch we just made and make a single crochet into the last single crochet of Row 1.  We're also going to make that single crochet into the farthest (back) loop of that single crochet.

In this photo, I've put my hook into the back loop of the last single crochet.  See how putting the stitch market into the middle of that corner helps me see which stitch I should be crocheting in?

30.  Finish the single crochet around the back loop.

31.  Make the next single crochet through the back loop.  Move the stitch marker to that stitch.  Keep moving the stitch markers up every row.  They come in handy when pinning in the zippered lining.

32.  Keep single crocheting around in the back loop.  There will be a nice edge around the bottom of your wristlet created by the front loop that is getting left behind.

33.  This is the last single crochet of the row.

34.  Put your hook into the top of the first single crochet of the row.

35.  Complete the slip stitch by yarning over and pulling it through the single crochet and the loop on your hook.

36.  Now we are starting Row 3.  Chain one.

37.  Turn your work clockwise.

38.  Turned!

39.  Skip the slip stitch you just made and single crochet in the last stitch of the previous row.  For this row (and all subsequent rows) you will single crochet under both loops of the stitches of the previous row.

40.  Single crochet around.  Keep moving the corner stitch markers up each row.

41.  The sides will start building upwards.  Go back to step 33 until you get to Row 16.

42. Here I'm finishing up Row 16

43.  Here's what the inside of your wristlet should look like at this point.

44.  Row 17 has been started and we've chained one, turned the work clockwise, and made one SC.  Here's where things get exciting!

45.  You are going to make a "spike single crochet" stitch.  It will serve as a "belt loop" for your ribbon strap.  Make a guess about how many rows down you should make your spike stitch and count down the rows from the yellow stitch marker.  I need to go down 3 rows to accommodate my 1-inch ribbon.

46.  I've put my hook into my wristlet 3 rows below the current stitch (the one with the yellow stitch marker).

47.  Yarn over.

48.  Pull the loop through your work.

49.  Stretch the loop up to the current row's height.  It's important to make sure the loop that was already on your hook is still tight and didn't get stretched out.

50  Yarn over.

51.  Complete your single crochet.

52.  Move the stitch marker up.  Make the next single crochet.

53.  This would be a good time to make sure your ribbon fits in the spike stitch the way you'd like it to fit.

54.  Perfect!  Not too much space to slip around and not too little space so that it's buckled.

55.  Make the next single crochet.

56.  Make another spike single crochet the same height as your first one.

57.  Often, my spike single crochet "spikes" have strands that are twisted around each other, like here in this photo.

58.  I use a plastic yarn needle to gently straighten them out so they look neater.

59.  Row 17 complete with spike stitches straightened.

60.  Row 18 is just like Row 3-16 - single crochet around the wristlet.  This is a photo showing the inside of the bag as I crochet Row 18

61.  This is a photo of me crocheting Row 19 showing the outside of the wristlet.

62.  This is the last single crochet of Row 19.  We are going to do what I call weaving in the last end (that's a link to my tutorial).

63.  Take your hook out of the loop and pull the yarn to make a huge loop.

64.  Cut the end of the yarn coming from your skein and the pull the loop so the cut end goes through the top of the last single crochet.

65.  Closeup of the side.

66.  Closeup of the top.

67.  Thread this tail onto a yarn needle, then put the needle under the top two strands of the first single crochet of this row.  It's the same place you would have put your crochet hook if you were going to make a slip stitch.

68.  Put the needle into the top of the last single crochet where the yarn strand starts.

69.  Pull on the yarn end to tighten it up.

70.  Keep tightening it until it looks like the top of all your other single crochet stitches.

71.  Weave the end under several rows of stitches and then knot the yarn to your wristlet to secure.  Your knot will be hidden under the zippered lining.

72.  If needed, pull the beginning yarn end into the inside of your wristlet with a crochet hook.  Mine are always on the outside.

73.  Catch the yarn end ...

74.  ... and pull it inside.

75.  Done!  You have finished the crocheting portion of this project.  Now it's time to sew the lining.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crochet Heart Scarf

Last year CRAFT Magazine commissioned me to design a Valentine's Day crochet pattern.  I designed the Crochet Heart Scarf for them.  If you want the free pattern, click on over.

What I didn't have a chance to show you last year, were all the rejected crochet heart scarf designs.  I shot these photos as I was designing on the couch, so the photos are sort of crap, but I think they prove that I put everything I have into making sure the scarf was everything I wanted it to be ... soft, light-weight, supple (not stiff), and with a recognizable heart motif.

Some of these are sort of cute, but too bulky or stiff.  Some just suck.  All of them were a part of the path for getting to my final design.  I couldn't have skipped any of them.  Not even when I almost gave up and thought, "Hey, why not just surface crochet the damn hearts on single crochet."  Ha!  

In the last photo, you can see in the swatch on the right that at the end I was messing around with the connector thread placement to get them exactly where I wanted them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Starling Handbag Pattern Now Available in Italian

I can now offer the Starling Handbag pattern in Italian.  The translation was completed by crafteemom (crafteemom on ravelry), who volunteered her time.  I've updated the Starling Handbag Ravelry page and my free downloads page to include the new version.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Starling Handbag Pattern in French and German

I am so excited about being able to offer the Starling Handbag in French and German.  The translations were done by two amazing people, Ambre and Laura, who volunteered their skills.  I've updated the Starling Handbag Ravelry page and my free downloads page to include the new versions.

This is actually part of a bigger project.  I completely redesigned and recoded my free downloads page.  The updated look and feel is accompanied by a completely new delivery engine that should eliminate the problems some people had trying to get my downloads.  

I figured if I was going to release the writstlet pattern soon, I had to update that page to work for everyone or I would drown under  the "I can't get the pdf" emails once it's out. :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teddy Bear Update 1 - Cutting Out The Pieces

I have a friend that really loves my teddy bear.  So much so that I decided to surprise them with one of their own.

I looked at the fabric store for teddy bear patterns, thinking It would be easy to find one just like mine.  But I was mistaken.  I couldn't find a good teddy bear pattern at all.  Luckily, a quick internet search turned up the exact pattern I made Neville from on eBay.  Can you believe that this is my first purchase from eBay?  Crazy, huh?

I bought this amazingly soft and plush faux fur at the fabric store.  It's a very traditional teddy bear color.

So soft!  So cuddly!  I bought miles of this stuff.

The challenge with fluffy faux fur fabric, though, is that you can't just lay the pattern pieces on it and cut them out.  The fabric is just too bumpy and weird.  So I had to trace each pattern piece onto grocery bag paper, which is more durable.

Then I used the grocery bag pattern pieces to trace onto the back of the knitted fur base.  It was really hard to trace the pattern pieces, so I ended up using the sharpies.  I was afraid the marker smell would linger, but it dissipated within a day or so.

Teddy bears have a surprising number of pieces to make them all up.  It took seemingly forever to cut out all the pattern pieces, trace all the pieces onto grocery bags, cut out the grocery bag pieces, trace them onto the fur, and cut out the fur pieces.  Gah!  So long.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 9: Button Closure

I think I've finally reached the end of things to say about this sweater ... haha!
First, I want to marvel at the fact that I had this amazing wooden button in my stash.  It matches the mid-purple perfectly.  I still can't get over that.

I originally had the button closure lower on the sweater, but after wearing it a couple of times, I realized that it was too low once the yarn relaxes.  I also only had the purple button and a crocheted loop, but I noticed that the underneath ribbing would sag and fold back as I wore the sweater.  

Button 2.0 includes an interior button and loop.  The interior button is a small shanked button that I sewed onto the bulk of the steek for stability.

The purple button is not shanked, so I stabilzed it by sewing it on with a small clear button on the inside (aka an anchor button).  The inside-underneath button keeps the purple button upright ... meaning my yarn loop doesn't pull it over to the side.

TECHknitting recently had a lot of great posts about buttons in which you can learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about putting buttons on your hand knit and hand crocheted garments, inlcuding using anchor buttons.

Ta da!  I am wearing the hell out of this sweater.  I really should start on another so I'll have it for when this one wears out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 8: Project Notes

Paige emailed and asked me how I keep notes about my projects - specifically about modifications I make to patterns.  I thought I'd share my answer with you, too.

The first little chart I made was this stripe chart.  The brackets on the right  designate where I can carry the yarn and where I break the yarn.

As I was knitting, I would make notes on the printed pattern.  Any notes on other paper, like the stripe chart, I tape to the paper to keep everything together.

For each section of the pattern, I created a check box for every row (or set of rows).  I also indicated whether it was D M or L, which is Dark, Medium, or Light Purple.  And, I also put the cut/no-cut brackets on right to remind me NOT to cut the yarn.

All my mods are here, hand-written as I made them.  Then, after I was all done, I put them in my sweater's Ravelry project.  I did this because I love reading other people's posts on Ravelry that explain what they did on a pattern.  It can be *super* helpful to know lots of people made a sweater longer, or found the instructions confusing.

Another thing I love about Ravelry when I'm browsing through patterns is looking at other people's projects from the pattern.  I can see real people wearing the sweater they made.  I think that's a much better indication of what I might make ... since I'm usually not the same size as the model they used.  Sometimes a sweater that looks incredible on the model doesn't look so hot on a middle-aged woman.  

And, sometimes the converse is true.  I've seen plenty of homely looking sweaters really shine when someone gets creative with the color or changes just one tiny part of the pattern  So much inspiration and real-world experience can be found on Ravelry.  It's an incredible resource for my knitting and crocheting!